A military divorce can be complicated if you aren’t sure about your entitlements, rights, or where to begin the process. A military divorce can seem like it’s just a mountain of paperwork and time spent filing requests. While service members and their spouses have some flexibility in certain aspects of their divorce, some issues can complicate matters.
Challenges of Military Divorce
If your service member is serving on active duty, they can still have custody of your minor children. The court will not sacrifice a parental relationship simply because of the service member’s duty status. While it may make custody sharing more difficult, a co-parenting arrangement can be developed. There are also federal guidelines dictating how service member benefits and retirement are handled in a divorce. While military divorces are mostly like any other, there are few ways in which they differ.
The most difficult aspect of planning a military divorce is knowing how to get started. Like all divorce proceedings, there are shared assets and debts, benefits, and custody issues to think about, but those are no different from any other divorce. By being prepared with all the necessary documentation and knowledge of finding what you do not know, you will be ready to get started.
Choosing a Filing Jurisdiction
Military families can have multiple homes in several different states, and they could live in military housing in a different state than any of their homes. With so many legal addresses, choosing where to file can be confusing. The general rule for most states is that you need to have lived in the state you plan to file in for at least 6 months. The simplest course of action is to file where you live, but if your service member is stationed somewhere else, that could prove problematic. If you have children, the ruling can be even more complicated. If you need further clarification, an attorney knowledgeable in military divorce can help you determine where would be best to file.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)
A divorce settlement is used to outline all the details of your marriage dissolution. The document will include benefits and assets you are entitled to after the marriage, military divorce as the same with a few caveats. All of the typical assets like savings accounts and property will be treated as in any other divorce, and while military benefits can be divided, the courts will make a final determination. Military spouses have legal rights to certain benefits in accordance with The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA). If your service member was injured during their service and receives military disability benefits, these are not the same as pension benefits. The USFSPA does not apply to disability benefits because they are not considered an asset when determining property division. VA disability benefits are considered an asset when used in determining support for minor children in custody plans.
Thoughtful and Considerate Divorce Lawyers
If you are ready to file for divorce this summer, the attorneys at Patton and Pittman can help you need help creating a strategy to begin processing your case and filing the necessary paperwork. Our Tennessee divorce lawyer at Patton and Pittman can answer questions you may have about your situation. Call our offices now at (931) 361-4477 to schedule a consultation.